Activities

ACTIVITIES See under this Tab:

1. DEFINING THE 'ATLANTIKWAL'

 

2. IFC-ACTIVITIES REPORTS

 

3. ACTIVITIES REPORTS FROM MEMBERS

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. DEFINING THE 'ATLANTIKWALL'

 

 

 

From our Dutch member, the Stichting Menno vcan Coehoorn we received this document, prepared for the "Erfgoedtafel Atlantikwall Zuid-Holland' (Heritage Table province South-Holland), it being the first or at leastone of the first attempots at defining this phenomenon, that covered the coast from northern Norway, through Denmakr, German, Belgium and France.

 

The Atlantikwall, Definition of a Phenomenon

 

1. Introduction

It might appear that amongst historians and policy makers there is common conception of the Atlantikwall. There are however many interpretations. For this reason, an attempt has been made to approach the Atlantikwall not only as objectively but also functionally.

 

2. The Atlantikwall in Historical Perspective

 

a) Phases

There are four discernible phases in the development of the German coastal defences:

 

Phase 1: Guarding the coastline, defending of key locations (harbours) and invasion preparations (1940-41);

Phase 2: Linear closed defence line against sea-based attacks (late 1941);

Phase 3: Comprehensive closed defence line against sea based and airborne attacks (late 1942-late 1943);

Phase 4: Proactive defence and layered defence lines (late 1943-1944);

 

b) Prelude (Phase 1)

Guarding of the coastline, defence of key locations (harbours) and invasion preparations (1940-41).

 

Early June 1940 saw the coastlines of Western Europe from the northern reaches of Norway to southern France in German hands. From then on this coast became the outer reaches of the third Reich. The Wehrmacht kept up, at this point only a primitive guard, as it was still on the advance. Any defences (occasionally bunkers) worth speaking of were placed at key points of strategic interest: ports and harbours on the West European Coast, the Channel Coast and the prestigious Channel Islands; for example. Following their losses at the Battle of Britain coupled with Hitler's expanding Eastern interest, the Wehrmacht gradually began to fill in the forgotten gaps and remote points between their initial strongholds, using radar and artillery positions, thereby slowly forming a series of fortifications along the whole coastline.

 

c) The Order of 14 December 1941: Die Neue Westwall / the New Westwall (Phase 2)

Linear closed defence line against sea-based attacks (late 1941).

 

On the 14th of December 1941 Hitler ordered the building of the Neue Westwall and with it came a better picture of the concept for the further expansion of existing strongholds into a sealed defence line “von Eismeer bis zur Biscaya”. This line would protect the important coastal locations, primarily the harbour areas, against enemy attacks from the sea and air, using of course “all available means”.

The defensive concept upon which the Neue Westwall was based, was the assumption that: the robust ability of the defences to take a prolonged pounding would provide sufficient opportunity to provide efficient reinforcements. A challenge, when considering the enormous lengths of coastline to be defended. On the one hand, these principles were dictated by the increased threat of the Allied invasion, and on the other hand by the demand for evermore troops at the Eastern Front. Besides, according to Hitler, the “Neue Westwall” was greatly symbolic and therefore also valuable propaganda. Its realisation turned out to be more challenging and this led to a change of plans.

 

d) The Benefits of Experience: the Atlantikwall (Phase 3)

Comprehensive closed defence line against sea based and airborne attacks (late 1942-late 1943)

 

In less than one week of the Atlantikwall-Conference of 13th August 1942 the ill-fated Allied raid on Dieppe took place. It encouraged Hitler's opinion that bomb proof bunkers, a so called Ständige Bunker, were called for to protect his field positions so vulnerable to air raids. This led to Order nr.14 being issued on 25th August 1942 by General Field-Marshal Gerd Von Rundsted, then Supreme Commander of all German troops on the Western front. It required an impenetrable fortress to be made of the Channel an Atlantic coastlines. This order meant a change of plans inevitable. To make the line impenetrable it needed protection from behind as well as up front.

 

The implications were the formation of a land-front corresponding to the sea-front, imperative to guarding the emplacements both from parachute attack behind lines and pincer attack movements. Tank traps were laid out with walls, dragons teeth , moats and canals were dug as water obstacles.

 

The expansion of the Sea-front with a land-front called for a further integration within and around the new and existing defences like the radar and airfield bases. This led to the creation of so-called Stutzpunktgruppen. The defence concept required far reaching cooperation between three military services Kreigsmarine, Heer and Luftwaffe.

 

e) Rommel (Phase 4)

Proactive defence and layered defence lines (late 1943-1944)

 

Late 1943 field-marshal Erwin Rommel further changed matters as Hitler's inspector of the Atlantikwall. He was of the opinion that an invasion attack should be destroyed at sea and in extreme circumstances on the beaches and that the Wehrmacht was unable to defeat the enemy should they be able to make a bridgehead and break out. Rommel ordered in early 1944 that placement of submerged obstacles and huge numbers of pikes buried at an angle rigged with steel cables and tipped with mines.

 

He recognized from previous encounters at the front, the increasing risk of allied airborne landings. To counter this danger and protect the rear of the coastal defences, Rommel ordered the existing Landfront and the hinterland expanded. Low lying areas were flooded, Rommel had additional minefields laid, earthworks and obstacles placed.

 

3. The Atlantikwall as phenomenon

 

The remains of the Atlantikwall are like war-scars. There are very few visible signs of the German occupation along our coastline. This realisation over the last few years has altered our appreciation of the Atlantikwall. The remains are protected cultural heritage sites.

 

For current and future stewardship of the Atlantikwall it is therefore important to gain insight into the nature of the defence line, for making balanced interpretations about the significance of (elements of) the Atlantikwall.

 

The Atlantikwall can be viewed in several different ways:

 

 

a) The Atlantikwall as defence concept

 

The Atlantikwall Neue Westwall built upon earlier German defence concepts based on lines, like the  Ostwall and Westwall. The big difference to these lines is that Atlantikwall wasn't built from one set of blueprints, but under influences of dynamic warfare and military strategy decision making it evolved from 1941 into an integrated defence system encompassing any existing coastguard elements along the West European Coast.

 

b) The Atlantikwall as physical infrastructure

 

The German coastal defences that were established in 1940 were primarily aimed at the prevention and repulsion of enemy air and sea attacks. Originally comprised of varying artillery batteries located around harbours and along the coast. Around all these points and at spots in between, they built U-Boot Bunkers (Unterseeboot, Underwater boat / submarine), and S-Boot-Bunkers (Schnellboot, Speedboat / motor torpedo boat), anti-aircraft positions and radar installations were built. These objects and complexes lay within the same are of the defence line we now call the Atlantikwall, whereas they were never formally a part of it. Their presence born of tactical considerations meant they were simply included in the defences as much for their own protection as the added bonus they leant the Atlantikwall itself.

 

Résumé: The Atlantikwall exists as physical coastal defence structures consisting of individual objects and ensembles into which military objects have been integrated regardless of their own function. These objects continue to be seen as part of the Atlantikwall, even if strictly speaking this is not the case.

 

c) The Atlantikwall as defence system

 

The coastal defence could not function without the headquarters inland, in command and responsible for logistic support, communication and supply routes, etc. The so called fall-back emplacements, inundation zones and other barriers further inland are all part of the system. The give the depth and strength to the Atlantikwall.

 

Résumé: The evolving German coastal defence concept determined the eventual shape and size of the physical infrastructure of the Atlantikwall. The dedicated organisation, management and support made the Atlantikwall the functioning defence system it was.

 

d) The standardized fortification concept

The standardized fortification concept can be found in:

 

In German sources the line was also referred to as “Perlen am Perlenschnur” describing the strongholds as pearls with in between the “freie Küste” the coastline as the necklace.

 

e) The Atlantikwall as propaganda slogan.

 

The war reports, newspapers and magazines created an image of the Atlantikwall as an impervious wall making “Festung Europa” impregnable. This propaganda message would put the German people at ease, keep the soldiers' moral high, suppress the occupied territory whilst discourage and demoralise the enemy.

4. Defining the Atlantikwall

 

Based on the previous analysis it possible to define, depending on the chosen perspective, what the scope is of the Atlantikwall, and which objects and defensive works can be included.

 

a) Borders

 

The physical borders of the Atlantikwall comprise:

 

b) Defence system

 

The elements that make up the Atlantikwall defence system also include all the hinterland units, positions and headquarters of the coastal defence forces. The length of the Atlantikwall stretches some 6200 kilometers, measured straight along the coast ignoring coves and fjords from the Norwegian-Russian frontier to the Franco-Spanish border, including the Channel Islands.

 

Literature

Huber, T. (2003).  Der Atlantikwall 1940-1945. Die Befestigung de Küsten West- und Nordeuropas im Spannungsfeld nationalsozialistischer Kreigführung und Ideologie.

Molt, A. (1993). Der Deutsche Festungbau von der Memel zum Atlantik. Fetungpioniere, Ingenieurkorps, Pioniertruppe 1900-1945.

Rolf, R. (2014). Atlantikwall. Batteries and Bunkers.

 

 

Den Haag, 22 February 2016,

 

Kees Neisingh

Gert-Jan Mellink

Raphaël Smid

Jeroen Rijpsma

 

2. ACTIVITIES REPORTS (2014-2015)

    

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

on the period October 1st, 2014 to October 1st, 2015

 

On October 17th, 2014 the IFC held its General Assembly in Portsmouth (UK).  The member organisations except one were present or represented. The Fortress Study group hosted the conference, that was preceded by a walk through Portsmouth and followed by a visit of Fort Nelson. At night the traditional Nelson’s Trafalgar dinner was attended. The day after the conference, the delegates also made a tour of coastal defences around Portsmouth.

 

The President of IFC, Mr Luc Fellay, was at the end of his term as President. Mrs Andrea Theissen was appointed by the General Assembly as new President of IFC. Mr Luc Fellay was appointed Vice-President. Mrs Andrea Theissen expressed the gratitude of the IFC  for all the work that Mr Fellay has done. Mr Fellay said, he looks back at a good period.

 

The General Assembly agreed to grant the ‘observer status’ to potential new (non-voting or full-voting) members, free of charge for a certain short period.

 

Mr Maurice Lovisa (ASMEM) and Mrs Marie Pierdait Fillie (Association Vauban) were invited to form the new management team of the Multilingual Fortification Dictionary. Mr Carlos Scheltema will remain (advising) member of the working group. Mr Jeroen van der Werf  (Menno van Coehoorn) will assist the management team.

Mr Carlos Scheltema has been conferred Honorary Membership of ICOMOS for his contribution to the life of ICOMOS and his distinguished service in the field of conservation, restoration and enhancement of historical monuments, sites and groups of buildings. This news was put on the IFC website.

 

Mr. Terry McGovern, Coastal Defence Study Group sent out the Quarterly IFC/CDSG Fortification Calendar in Excel, PDF and Word formats. It has been a matter of continuing concern for him and for the IFC members that contribute their programs to keep this quarterly complete and up-to-date. The data can be found on IFC’s website (www.internationalfortresscouncil.org under Calendar).

 

The IFC is included in the Yearbook of International Organisations, at www.uia.org/db.

 

The Executive Council of the IFC convened in Festung Spandau (Germany) in April, 2015. Amongst many other items, the Executive Board discussed the road ahead for the MLFD, especially concerning the time periods that could be covered. Up till now the emphasis has been on 16th and 17th century fortifications. Mr Maurice Lovisa and Mrs Marie Pierdait Fillie were asked to make a working plan, which could be presented at the General Assembly in Antwerp, October 2015.

 

The Castle of Bazoches (France) had the honor and privilege to have been chosen to represent the Burgundy region as part of its program  "preferred French monument - Edition 2015".
Also, to be possibly declared "Monument favorite French 2015".

 

The City of Briançon (France) is on the most endangered list. Everybody is aware of the fact that restauration works should take place but there are not enough funds. There have been talks with investors but none of them were interested in investing in such a large project.

Organisations involved are Reseau Vauban, Association Vauban and the city of Briançon.

 

The FSG asked for support to promote the FSG in the digital environment. Although there is a web page for many years, the FSG have recently got onto Twitter and Facebook. 

Their  request is for help in promoting the FSG Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Fortressstudygroup?ref=bookmarks.  This should not be confused the Wikipedia Facebook page. Any support would be welcome, but if members could go onto the page and LIKE it that will improve the standing of the FSG ‘in digitalibus’.

The IFC was approached with concerns about an important archeological site in the city of Turin (Italy) that risks to be destroyed to build an underground parking. The threat is related to important underground fortifications built in the XVII century. In 1564, the Savoy family started works to build a fortification to protect the city of Turin. The fortress included a dense networks of pedestrian tunnels and on the whole the fortress was so impressive that Napoleon, who decided to destroy the walls of the City, ordered to save part of the fortress. Today, part of pedestrian tunnels of the XVII century have been discovered during works to build an underground parking, but Municipality of Turin seems to not want to save the archeological site.

The IFC was approached about the bastion wall angles of the fortifications surrounding Valletta in Malta. They were designed by Italian architect Francesco Laparelli, assisted by Girolamo Cassar. Work is under way for a proposal for a monument to commemorate 450 years since the first stone was laid in Valletta. The proposal could incorporate facets with the same vertical angle of the bastions.

Although the IFC-members are in many ways involved in ICOMOS/ICOFORT matters, the IFC has not been active in this field. The same goes for Europa Nostra.

 

 

 

Kees Neisingh,

Secretary-General IFC

 

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

on the period October 1st, 2013 to October 1st, 2014

 

On October 18th, 2013 the IFC held its General Assembly in Utrecht (NL). All member organisations were present or represented. The Menno van Coehoorn Foundation hosted the conference, that was preceded by a tour of the City of Utrecht. The day after the conference, the delegates also made a tour of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie.

 

The General Assembly appointed Mr Bassett (FSG) as member of the Executive Board. The (second) terms of both President and Vice-President will end in 2014. Mrs Andrea Theissen accepts the nomination as a candidate for President of the IFC in 2014.

 

The assembly agreed to limit the number of delegates from ‘non-voting members’ to one person. The minimal fee for ‘non-voting members’ is set ad € 50, - per annum. The organisation ECCOFORT does not meet the criteria for a ‘non-voting member’.

 

The Multilingual Fortification Dictionary was originally limited to the bastion-system. Attention can now be paid to the previous and later periods. Some terms cannot be made visible in a picture, like ‘attack’, ‘defend, ‘’besiege’. The dictionary is open to the public.

 

Mr. Terry McGovern, Coastal Defence Study Group sent out the Quarterly IFC/CDSG Fortification Calendar in Excel, PDF and Word formats. It has been a matter of continuing concern for him and for the IFC members that contribute their programs to keep this quarterly complete and up-to-date.

 

The IFC is included in the Yearbook of International Organisations, at www.uia.org/db.

 

 

Kees Neisingh,

Secretary-General IFC

 

                         FINANCIAL REPORT IFC 2013-2014

 

 

Realization 2013-2014                             In  (in €)            Out (in €)                    Estimated

                                                                                              

Balance deficit 30-9-2013                                      - 5,56

Contributions                                                     1.300 **                                               1.300,--

Costs of website (improvements)                                                -----                                400,-                          

Costs of secretariat                                                                     193,45                         )                                                                                                                                           

Costs of banking                                                                             4,71                         )    200,--

Chamber of commerce                                                              (paid by MvC)              ) Hosting site (1-10-2013 - 30-9-2014)                                         609,84                            600,--

Not forseen                                                                                   -----                                94,44 

Balance surplus 30-9-2014 (after **)                                  289,47

 

** SSV and NUF did not yet pay there contributions 2012-2013 + 2013-2014.

 AV did not yet pay 2013-2014 (total € 258,-)

 

 

Budget-estimate 2014-2015               with CDSG                 

Costs of secretariat (incl. small costs)                            200,--                             

Hosting site (incl. MFD)(1-10-2014 – 30-9-2015)        610,--

Provision replacement website (in 5 years)                    500,--  

Not foreseen                                                                     79,47                            

Surplus 30-9-2014                                         -/-            289,47                                                                       Total funding needed                                                   1.300,--                           

 

 

Proposal 2014-2015 (in Euro)          

Belgium, Simon Stevin VVC         3,62 %           45,--             

Croatia, NUF                                  0,44 %           35,-- (min.)    

Czech Republic, CAMH                1,61 %           35,-- (min.) 

France, Association Vauban          7,83 %           98,--              

Germany, DGF                              8,67 %         109,--              

Luxemburg, FFGL                          6    %            75,--              

Netherlands, MvC                        35,5  %          447,--            

Switzerland, ASMEM                     3   %             38,--             

United Kingdom, FSG                 22,83 %          286,--            

USA, CDSG                                 10,5  %          132,--                         

                                       Total     100  %   Total  1.300,--           

 

 

Your treasurer,

(signed)

 

E.N.Westerhuis

 

3. ACTIVITIES REPORTS (2013-2014) FROM IFC-MEMBERS

 

COAST DEFENSE STUDY GROUP

 

 

Below is CDSG annual report to the IFC for the last twelve months (2013-2014). The CDSG operates through a committee system, head by a three-person board of directors. Below is a quick review of their activities during this period and their plans for the coming year:
The CDSG Publications committee produced four excellent quarterly Coast Defense Journal and CDSG Newsletter
for our members during this period containing a grand total of 512 pages. The Coast Defense Journal includes articles on seacoast fortifications from around the world, so our editor, B.W. Smith would like to receive articles on coastal works from members of the various associations that make up the IFC.
 
The CDSG Press committee handles the selling of back issues of our journal, our conference/tour notes, CD/DVD of a range of coast artillery documents, and publishing reprints of key books on America's fortifications. We have added "Volume 27” (2013) of the Coast Defense Journal and CDSG Newsletter to our list of back issues. Additionally, we have placed the entire Journal/News collection on a CD-ROM, which represents over 10,000 pages of coast defense material. We also added the conference notes from the "Defenses of the San Diego & Los Angeles" in CD format to our press list. The CDSG Press continues to sell reprints of important government books on American coast defense and seacoast artillery. The committee's primary effort for this year has been the writing a new original book to “Guide to Modern American Seacoast Forts” as a companion volume to our CDSG reference guide, "American Seacoast Defenses – 2nd Edition" (ASD2). We plan to offer produce this new book in 2015 along with a new edition of American Seacoast Defenses – 3rd Edition (which will have about 80 new pages).
 
The CDSG Fund is our organization vehicle to collect tax-deducible gifts from our membership and then provide these funds to other groups to further their fortification projects that fit within the goals and objectives of the CDSG. Typical gifts that the committee disburses are funds to preserve key coast defense artifacts, such as shell hoists, generators, and surviving ordnance. Preservation project the CDSG Fund is helped with in the last twelve months help fund the relocation of a 16-inch/50 Mark 7 barrel (weighs 120 tons) from the US Navy in Norfolk, Virginia to Battery Lewis, Monmouth County, New Jersey to help interpret this World War II battery. The CDSG Fund has also continued the funded the purchase and donation of copies of the “Historic Fortification Preservation Handbook” published by the Washington State Parks to assist owners of former coast defense sites maintaining them.
 
The CDSG Membership and CDSG Finance committees deal with internal functions such as gathering dues, keep
track of our membership list, and paying our bills. In an effort to maintain membership growth, these committees
promote new memberships with notices in related journals, T-shirt sales, and other promotional activities during the year. Our dues are $40 domestic and $70 international (due to the cost of the international surface postal rates). Membership was 376 at the end of 2013.
 
The CDSG Preservation committee keeps track of threats to the former U.S. coast defense sites and promotes their historical signification and urges their preservation. Our efforts focus on educating the owners of such sites of their historical value, as well as pointing out existing laws and regulations that may govern the future use of such sites. The committee is currently monitoring the use of several former forts by private owners (such as Fort Ward, Fort Salisbury, Fort Montgomery, Fort St. Phillip, Fort Carroll, Fort McKinley, etc.), the impact of several hurricanes of forts on both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, the National Park Service (NPS) management plans for several of their parks, the collapse of the 14-inch guns inside Battery Wilson’s turret on Fort Drum, Philippines, the continued development of the main post at the Presidio of San Francisco, CA to private ventures (such as art museums), U.S. Army’s closure and transfer of Fort Monroe, VA in 2011, and encroaching commercial development of Fort Grant, Fort Kobbe, Fort Amador, and Fort Randolph in the former Panama canal zone in Panama.
Our CDSG Representative committee is designed to place a "lead" CDSG member in each former U.S. harbor
defense to report on threats to local fortifications sites, assist local site owners in becoming knowledgeable about the importance of their site, and to increase membership in the CDSG. Our twenty representatives’s report back on the current state of affairs in their areas on a regular basis and help spread the word about the CDSG and its mission.
These reports are distributed through our website and newsletter. It is based on these reports that our other
committees, as the CDSG Preservation and the CDSG Fund learn of possible projects.
The CDSG Project committee gives focus to our membership's efforts to promote the subject of coast defense. One of the most successful projects has been establishing our website (www.cdsg.org) which provides information both on the CDSG and history of coast defense in the United States. Once such project is the conversion of all the primary coast artillery, quartermaster, and engineer records held in the U.S. National Archives to electronic form and be made available to membership on CD-ROM and DVD. This massive effort has been underway for several years and the CDSG Press is offering CD and DVD of this data for sale.
 
The CDSG Audit and CDSG Nominations committees both serve internal organization needs by annual reviewing
our books and records and by selecting annual candidates to be elected to our board of directors.
Our CDSG Conference committee is tasked with organizing our annual conference to a former U.S. harbor defense.
From October 1 to 5, 2014, we had an excellent annual conference to visit the former harbor defenses of San Diego and Los Angeles. Our annual conferences follow a format of field trips during the day and presentations at night. They last from three to four days. Our 2015 annual conference is planned from April 29th to May 3rd to former harbor defenses of the Delaware River. Our 2016 conference is expected to be to the former defenses of Columbia River.
 
We welcome members of the IFC member organizations to attend our conferences.
The CDSG Tour committee conducts special tours on an occasion basis to sites outside the United States. We held
and excellent special tour to former harbor defenses of Subic and Manila Bays, Philippines from February 22 to March 5, 2014. We are planning a special tour to former defenses of the Panama Canal for 2016 and working on a tour to Switzerland for 2017 as guests of the ASMEM. We welcome members of IFC organizations to attend.
As the CDSG liaison to the IFC, I apology for not attend the annual meeting in Portsmouth on October 17th/18th, but hope this summary of our affairs will be useful to the IFC as a whole.  Please contact me at
tcmcgovern@att.net or 703/934-3661 (work) if you have any questions about the CDSG.

 

 

 

 

 

FORTRESS STUDY GROUP

 

 

 

FORTRESS STUDY GROUP – REPORT of ACTIVITIES 2014
Membership: Numbers have remained steady at almost 600 and it has been noted that new
members mainly come via the website and all new members have an email address. The annual
MEMBERS DAY was held in London in April, when 20 members watched short presentations on
La Rochelle, Gibraltar, Canada, Taunton, Blaye, Vis, Malaysia, Menorca and Norway.
 
Publications: FORT 42 (2014) the international journal of fortification and military architecture
has been published and FORT 30, the Andrew Saunders commemorative volume, was also
published earlier this year.
 
The magazine of the group, Casemate, is published every four months.
Guide booklets for the study tour of the Western Pyrenees and the conference at Norwich have also
been published.
Events: The annual MEMBERS STUDY DAY was at Dover in May. Unfortunately, due to storm
damage, members were unable to visit the Breakwater Battery but the group visited the RN Fuel
Storage Depot in the cliffs, a site normally closed to the public; Archcliffe Fort and the North
Entrance to the Western Heights.
 
The annual STUDY TOUR visited the Western Pyrenees, and was based at Canfranc and Pamplona
between the 7th and 14th of June. 40 members visited the citadels of Pamplona and Jaca, the forts of
Portalet, Col de Ladrones, Rapitan, Txoritokieta, San Marcos, and San Cristobal. A reception was
held during the tour in Pamplona. Guests included General Michael, General Militar de Navarre,
and the Municipal officers of Pamplona. The FSG has been asked to provide a speaker at the
conference on Fortified Heritage: Management and Sustainable Development to be held in
Pamplona in October 2014.
FSG Report to IFC2014/awf

 

 

 

The Activities of the CAMH in 2013:

-              151 members, 150 from the Czech Republic and one from Germany.  Continuous cooperation               with several regional societies in the Czech Republic.

-              Two gatherings  - in May a visit to the light fortifications  from the years 1937-1938 in   Southern Bohemia and,  in November a meeting in Prague.

-              Three volumes of our Magazine: OIN.

-              Three trips to: Alsace, Sicily and Denmark.

 

Prospects for 2014:

-              Two gatherings – in May in Northern Bohemia visiting the heavy fortifications from the years                 1937-1938, in November a meeting in Prague.

-              Planned trips:

                - June 2014: Menorca

                - August 2014: Maginot Line in the Alps

-              Expected publications: Artillery and Fortifications 1867-1918

 

 

In the year 2012.- 2013. NUF was  active in several fields.

 

                Our membership is stabile. Now there are around 50 active members in NUF Pula, and some 25 in Zagreb - with Karlovac, Slavonski Brod, Koprivnica ... members.

                There are some six meetings of our members per year. Generally they are held in Zagreb.

                On invitation from Ministry of Culture NUF had organised international expert meeting about fortifications of Pula navy harbour .It was autumn 2012. Ministry of Defence and of Interior Affairs have also taken parts in organisation. There was meeting of members in Zagreb, than three days around Pula. Visiting many of forts and having working mornings with discussions on options for conservation and reuse. Main foreign experts were Dr. H-R Neumann -ECCOFORT and arch John Harris -FSG,FORT. Others were Mario Werhas from Croatian Military Museum, Zlatko Uzelac from Ministry of Culture, Stjepan Lončarić and dr. Vesna Balta from NUF, ing Hartmut Roeder from ECCOFORT...

                There were talks  with local politicians about this matter. There are written reports from main participants.

 

                Due to this initiative NUF member Andelko Hundic, working for Croatian television, is now very active on documentary film on Pula fortresses. Film will be finished  till the end of this year.

                In 2012. NUF had begun to cooperate with University of Pula on EU Project Adrifort, which is leaded by Italian region Veneto. On September 15.-19. Hundić, Lončarić, Werhas, Purić and H-R Neumann were active on this meeting. There was two pages interview with Dr. Neumann in local newspapers about possibility of meeting UNESCO WHL criteria as part of "serial" nomination. Contacts with local politicians, civil sector, and Austrian heritage focused n.g.o.-s of highest rank...

 

                NUF Pula, with Mr. Zlatko Devedžić as chairman is always doing great job, on so many objects in their part. Thanks to them, and wishing better days. NUF Pula had moved focus to fortified heritage from after WW2. , concrete structures.

 

                National ICOMOS. Icofort.

Through last year there was stronger initiative to start Icofort Croatia, from NUF. There are members of ICOMOS Croatia, wishing to be members of national Icofort. President of national ICOMOS had took duty to send appropriate letter to head of Icofort international, Mrs. Milagros Flores-Roman, USA.

                There were changes in Croatian government, very important to NUF. Despite fact that our founding member Mr Zlatko Uzelac is not any more deputy minister of culture, NUF had succeed to have workable communication with this and other ministries, i.e. defence, tourism sector.

                There was also very interesting communication with "Association of Dubrovnik heritage friends". It is connected wit Ston walls fortification system from 14.-15. Ct.

               

               

  

                Stjepan Lončarić , N.U.F., president

STICHTING MENNO VAN COEHOORN

 

Stichting Menno van Coehoorn ( 1-10-2013 / 30-9-2014)

 

 

We organised six excursions with - in average- some 50 persons.

 

The number of members is slightly falling (ca. 1040). The number of active members is constant (ca. 120).

 

Four issues of Saillant.

 

The work on our documentation centre is still making good progress. The main point still is the digitalisation of all images, maps etc... and disclosure of that information by internet. All books and articles can be found now in the on-line-catalogue and all photo’s are now are “on-line” available. About 70% of all maps, plans  and drawings are ready. We hope to complete this job by end 2015.

We renewed our website and completed it by a module “database defence-works” in which the data of all NL (former) defence-works will be shown.

It will cost us several years to fill this database.

Our study about the Old Dutch Waterline (end 2016?) is still ongoing.

 

A new law on the protection of WH-areas has been introduced, so also the surroundings of national monuments can be protected now .

The nomination as World Heritage of the New Dutch Waterline is making good progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASSOCIATION VAUBAN

 

ACTIVITIES REPORT

(1st October 2013 – 30th September 2014)

 

ASSOCIATION VAUBAN

President Alain MONFERRAND

 

MEMBERSHIP:

Number of members: 244 (AG De Besancon)

 

PUBLICATIONS:

·        Oisivetés: “ La Lettre des Oisivetés” 2013

·        Dossier for the annual congress in Besancon

·        Dossier for the study tour in Italy: «VENETIAN FORTIFICATIONS”

 

EVENTS:

MARCH 27th – VAUBAN MEMORIAL DAY.

This annual ceremony was held at the Royal Chapel of the Dome des Invalides in Paris, Alain Monferrand presiding. Among the persons present were General STEPHAN, Head executive engineer of French Military Infrastructures, General VITRY Association VAUBAN Vice-President, several of Marshal de Vauban’s family members, the board of the Association VAUBAN, the Fellow members of “the CHOQUET DE LINDU class” of military engineers for infrastructures (IMI) and numerous visitors of the Royal Chapel.

 

APRIL: THE ASSOCIATION OBTAINS THE GENERAL INTEREST STATUT:

The French authorities regard the Association Vauban as an organisation of general public interest because of its role in the fields of culture and history. In doing so, the membership fee is deductible. This decision was made on April 17th.

 

 

MAY–ANNUAL CONGRESS- BESANÇON and SURROUNDING DEFENCES

The Congress commemorated the Siege of Besancon, by Vauban, that took place in May 1674, in the presence of Louis XIV.

ITINERARY: the Citadel of Besançon (UNESCO World Hertitage), Cluse de Pontarlier, Fort de Joux, Larmont, Fort Belin, Fort Saint André, Auxonne and Dôle. The conference was dedicated to the Franche-Comte becoming part of France after the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678. The program included Swiss humanitarian assistance during the French retreat in 187I  and 1940 as well.

 

MAY—HISTORICAL EVENTS- Contributions

SULLY SUR LOIRE-Heures historiques – (First and second world war)

BRIENNE LE CHATEAUJournées napoléonniennes.

 

JULY 18th – ANGERS (FR) - New Infrastructures class “SERRE DE RIVIERE” at IMI (military engineers for infrastructures)

During the inauguration of the new class for engineers of military infrastructure “SERRE DE RIVIERE” at IMI, Colonel ORTHOLAN, member of the Association Vauban, held a presentation on Serre de Rivieres.

This military engineer, described as the Vauban of the 19th century, constructed several systems of fortifications after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

He brought the new concept using detached forts as a continuous line of fire. It was applied at Toulon, Nice, Metz, Lyon and along France’s eastern border.

 

SEPTEMBER – ANNUAL STUDY TOUR in ITALY: the FORTIFICATIONS of Venice and its surroundings

ITINERARY: the Arsenal of Venice, the fortifications of the lagoon, Palmanova (a concentric shaped town similar to « Neuf-Brisach ») the fortifications of Tagliamento (once defending the Hungary-Austrian border) the fortifications of the Col de Tarvis and Isonzo valley, First world war battle grounds

(Gorizia and Udin, Vallo Alpino rehabilited by NATO operational up to 2000)

 

WEBSITE

www. association-vauban.org

The new web site was launched end of December.

 

REMARKS:

ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL: The Association Vauban keeps collaborating with ICOMOS FRANCE. In particular with regard to the World Heritage:

-         Limitations to historic territory: new rules for feasibility

-         Meeting in Utrecht in November regarding the Waterline candidature

-         Reflections on new ways of restauration with regard to re-use and new energy

 

 

 

 

 

Association Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (ASMEM)

Annual Report (November 2012- October 2013) of Association
Saint-Maurice d’Etudes Militaires (ASMEM) for the General
Assembly of the International Fortress Council - October 18th 2013
- Utrecht
Excursion
- Saturday 9 March 2013, Reuenthal Museum visit
- Saturday 21 September – Savatan - 100th anniversary commemoration of the Swiss french society of  fortification troups (STFSR) with presentation of a special edited book from ASMEM with STFSR (see below)


Study Tour
- 12 to 16 September 2013 fortifications of Denmark – Oresund
- 19 to 22 September Swiss fortifications (St. Gothard & Sargans) organised for Association Vauban
- 2014 : Vietnam (March - April )
- 2014 : Maginot Line (18 to 22 September)

Publications
- ASMEM-Bulletin 2012
- Histoire des Troupes de Forteresse de la Suisse Romande (STFSR) ;Delévaux, P.

ASSOCIATION SAINT-MAURICE
D’ETUDES MILITAIRES
Case postale 25
CH-1890 ST-MAURICE

 

Annual report

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung

Oktober 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014

 

 

Annual report
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Festungsforschung
 

1. Annual conference 2014 in Köln

The annual meeting 2014 took place from 26th to 28th September in Köln. The congress has put
the focus on the theme „ "Ars militaris after the Revolution. The European fortification in the
first half of the 19th century and its principles”. About 85 participants joined this conference.
The next annual meetings will take place in Nürnberg (2015)
and Saarlouis (2016).

2. Further conference 2014 in Schwerin

The DGF organized for the first time together with the
Wartburggesellschaft a conference. The meeting took place
from May 28 to June 1 in Schwerin. The congress has put the
focus on the theme „From the castle to the fortress. The
fortification in Germany and Europe 1450-1600”.

3. Publication of the fifth and sixth book of the series

„Fortification research“
In the context of our scientific publication series „Fortification research“, the sixth and the
seventh volume are in the making. The titles are: „Festungen
in Gärten – Gärten in Festungen“ (Frortresses in gardens –
gardens in fortresses ) and „Erforschung und Inwertsetzung von
Festungen heute“ (Research and valorisation of fortresses
today ) They include the lectures of conferences in Coburg,
Koblenz and Spandau. The publisher of the books is “Schnell &
Steiner”.

4. Publication of the series „Fortifications in Germany“

After the publication of the first volume of the new scientific
publication series „Fortifications in Germany“ in 2008, further
guides to fortresses in the various federal states in Germany
appeared: 2013 to the fortresses in Hessen (Elmar Brohl) and 2014 to the fortresses in Baden
Württemberg (Christian Ottersbach, Heiko Wagner, Jörg Wöllper).
 

5. Festungsjournal

From October 2013 to September 2014 the DGF published two
issues of the DGF-journal „Festungsjournal“ (issues 44 and 46).
Elmar Brohl is still in charge of the conception and layout of our
journal. However, he has announced his retirement, what
probably will cause many problems with the regard to our
journal.
 

6. Homepage

Our Homepage is successful, which is reflected in the numerous
visitors. The technology (the so-called Hosting package) will be
adapted on an operation-friendly version  the DGF has full
access and can easily and quickly add updates.

7. Number of members

The number of members is stable:
 Sept. 2007: 241 members
 Sept. 2008: 237 members
 Sept. 2009: 234 members
 Sept. 2010: 235 members
 Sept. 2011: 231 members
 Sept. 2012: 234 members
 Sept. 2013: 237 members
 Sept. 2014: 231 members
 
Trier, 15 October 2014
Dr. Anja Reichert-Schick

 

 

 

 

 

SIMON STEVIN (BELGIUM)

Simon Stevin V.V.C. Activity report 2012 – Q3 2013
Contribution to the General Assembly IFC – Utrecht 2013
During the period 2012 – Q3 2013 Simon Stevin developed intensively a range of initiatives in
various fortified heritage related domains. The number of projects we initiated or on which we
participated increased in a significant way.


1. New online presence www.simonstevin.org
The website is actuality-oriented and brings in a systematic way news and activities.
Subscribers get the free e-newsletter Vesting Flash, which links to the website.
Online presence is supported with a Facebook page www.facebook.com/simonstevinorg
Step by step the number of visitors increases, reaching > 1.000 unique visitors / month. The enewsletter
and facebook page work viral, empowering growth of the online Simon Stevin V.V.C.
community. Online presence becomes a key success tool in promoting our activities.


2. Programm 100 years Great War
Next year, in the perspective of remembering 100 years Great War represents an ideal opportunity
to launch a rich program putting the fortifications in evidence towards the public.
We teamed up with a set of strategic partners to roll-out a mass audience oriented program,
including
· A large exhibition during 3 months in the center of Antwerp
· An interactive web section with a calendar of acitivities, information downloads, etc.
· An educational program for schools with information on the role of the fortifications during
WW1, combined with visits to the related sites.
· Fortification day in Fort Liezele, with living history groups demonstrating the mobilization of
1914, an exhibition and an information fair.
· Publication of a book about the role of the fortifications at WWI, illustrated with many
unique historical pictures and documents.
· Photography contest : Fortifications today.
· 3 special theme editions of our publication Vesting, in full colour
· Special 1914-manual for guides in fortifications.
· Helpdesk for authors of publications and media formats in search for information about the
fortresses in WW I


3. Simon Stevin Archive
Project planning and budgetting to unlock the archive in a digital way based on key words.
Goal : operational in 2015
Our archive room was renamed solemnly in “Zaal de Hasque”, a pioneer of Simon Stevin
V.V.C.
According our new management vision, the workgroup Archive will be enforced with 3 new
volunteers, experienced in the domains of fortification and archive organization.
A set of valuable books, documents and plans will be digitalized, in order to reduce physical
manipulation.


4. Publication Vesting
The publication appeared 4 times during 2012 and 3 times during 2013, representing >130 puages of
fortification know-how. Articles covered Fort Pannerden, guntowers, Bruly-de-Pêches, Hitlers HQ in
Belgium, Bourtange, Steendorp, Rocroi, the Red fortress of Agra, etc.
Publication WMF-NEWS (workgroup Modern Fortifications)
The publication appeared 3 x, covering Musée Historique 39-45 Ambleteuse, the Antwerp-Turnhout
Stellung – Fortification Day 2012, Spotlight on museums, Eastern Front “Sapun Gora”, the New
Bastogne Ardennes 44-Museum.


5. Other publications
- Book “Fort Stabroek van de Vesting Antwerpen” (Simon Devos - R. Gils)
- Book "De Anti-tankgracht van de Vesting Antwerpen" (G. Melis - R. Gils)
- Box “Belevingsbox Antitankgracht” (Cooperation with Toerisme Provincie Antwerpen)
-
6. Various Projects
Dendermonde Hollandse Kazerne
The Holland barracks are in bad shape. The city of Dedermonde looks for funding to conserve and
restaure the historical building. Simon Stevin assists and cooperates by means of the local
correspondents. A public support website with petition was activated and promoted.
Bike Tour Antwerp Fortification Belt 2012 and 2013
Twice this initiative was helt. Simon Stevin organizes guided tours in the related fortifications and
addresses in this way thousands of interested visitors.
Actually we are in the planning phase of Bike Tour Antwerp Fortification Belt 2014
Fortification course for nature guides in fortifications.
In cooperation with the Center for Nature and Environmental education, we organized a course on
fortification for nature guides. A number of fortifications are managed as nature reserves. The
guides are often skilled in the nature facets, but lack the knowledge on fortified heritage. This course
bridges the gap and was very successful. The program will be continued.
Antwerp Culture market 2012 – 2013
We participated twice on this event, focussing on everyone who is intrested in culture in the largest
means. The complete center of Antwerp is turned into one big fair. We participate with a stand and
can count on enthousiast response. Focus of the stand is stimulating awareness on the rich fortified
heritage in Flanders, and offering concrete arrangements s.a. visits and guided tours.
Expertgroup Spanish Ramparts
Simon stevin participates in the expert group to upgrade and unlock the remains of the Spanish
Ramparts in Antwerp/
Zimmerman project
The Zimmermann project is a study, based on historical German air photos WW1 of the fortifications
(bunkerline, fortresses and tranches) in the north of Antwerp.
We contribute to articles and publications about this bunker line in the North of Antwerp and the
Antwerp Turnhout-Stellung.
Parts of this bunker line (Mastenbos) are in a limited way open for the public based on guided tours.


7. Zoutleeuw Citadel
We assist in the preparatory research to evaluate the heritage potential of the remains of the Citadel
of Zoutleeuw.


8. Simon Stevin Award 2012
The award was offered to the community of Puurs for their structural and consistent support since
many years, resulting in Fort Liezele to be considered as the best preserved and restaured
fortification of the Antwerp fortress Belt.


9. Fortification Day 2012
The fortification day was helt in the Fort of Stabroek, welcomming more then 600 enthousiast
visitors.


10. Visits and guided tours.
For our members, following visits were organized : Fort 7 Antwerp, Westwall-Hürtgenwald Germany,
Fort Aubin Neufchateau (Belgium), Bois-du-Four and Latiremont (Maginot), fort Embourg (Liège
Belgium).
Additionaly, 15 specialised visits and explorations in small groups were organized. For third parties,
we delivered 3 guided tours : Fort 5 Edegem Antwerp, Turnhout and Oostende.


11. Legal protection
Turnhout bunker 99 (period WW1) : The bunker was protected and equipped with an information
panel.
Kruibeke open battery : foundation of German open battery 1917 : Inventarisation and starting of
legal protection procedure.
WW1 bunkers Beerse : Information session together with Province of Antwerp, visit and
inventarisation in the perspective of a legal protection procedure.
Liezele : the bunkers in the neighbourhood of the fortress are under supervision of the fortress
management.
Luc Olyslager
Chairman Simon Stevin V.V.C.